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Full text of "How the Nationalists propose to treat the protestants of Ulster and the Ulster linen trade"

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Ireland No 12] 





This is what Mr. Davitt told the Interviewer of the Pall 
Mall Gazette, on May 12, when asked how he proposed to 
deal with the question of Ulster : 

" Leave them alone to us," he said, " and we will make 
short work of those gentry. They are not Irish, they are 
only English and Scotch who are settled among us, and it 
is preposterous that they should be allowed to dictate to 
Irishmen how Ireland should be governed." 


The English and Scotch in Ulster are the men who have 
made the great city of Belfast, and have built up that linen 
industry which has added so immensely to the prosperity of 
Ireland, and has made the looms of Ulster famous through- 
out the world. 

How do the Irish appreciate those who have thus bene- 
fited and enriched Ireland ? 

They envy and they hate them. If Home Rule is granted 
their first thought will be to be revenged upon the Ulster 
linen trade. 

This is what was said on the subject in the Belfast 
Morning News, a paper belonging to Mr. Gray, a leading 
member of the Nationalist Party : 

" Suppress Orange linen, and you manumit Ulster. 
Break the power of the ' linenites,' and the * Loyalists ' are, 
if not killed, scotched." — December 29th, 1884. 

" The linen trade has been a scourge, and not a blessing, 
to Ulster. This province is by far the poorest of the four, 
except Connaught , and even it tops Ulster in many respects. 
This Mr. T. Galloway Kigg, of Castle Douglas, has 
proved -with force, finish, and finalitjr in two admirable 
letters to the Dumfries and Galloicay Standard. . . . 
Mr. Kigg says truly that ' the soil of Ulster is hilly and 
mountainous throughout, whereas Leinster, Munster, and 
Connaught (Eastern) are as flat as a bowling-green.' But he 
does not mention what intensified the sterility of the pro- 
vince, what added to the ruggedness of hill and mountain, 
what accentuated the inhospitality of bog and morass — the 
existence of the linen trade. But for the linen trade Ulster 
could never have been rack-rented as it was and as it con- 
tinues to be. But for the linen trade the factitious value of 
over 25 per cent, beyond that imposed on the land of the 
fertile provinces could never have been laid on arid Ulster 
by Griffith. ' Up the heathery mountain, down the rustling 
glen,' the fair linen has laid its foul mark in impossible 
rents; for lint and loom and linen, not the land, paid the 
rent. But for the stone of flax, the hank of yarn, the web 
of linen, the grinding landlord exactions which have kept 
Ulster poor could not have been put in force. . . . 
That's the reward Ulster gained by its unswerving, blind 
devotion to linen, loyalty, and landlordism. The trio are 
identical, for ' the linen trade of Ulster is solidly Orange,' 
and, ' as an interest, and a powerful interest, is the worst, 
most vicious, and most formidable enemy of the Irish 
people.' . . . The whole weight of the linen trade, as a 
body, was ever thrown into the scale of the enemies and 
oppressors of the people." — January 5th, 1885. 

Englishmen and Scotchmen, think what is the meaning 
of this, and what will follow the destruction of the Ulster 
linen trade here advocated. 

Thousands of law-abiding and industrious working men 
and their families, who, up till now, have been earning an 
honest livelihood, will be reduced to ruin and beggary ; and 
for what fault? They have worked at the linen 
trade! They are "only English and Scotch"! 

Published by the Liberal Committee for the Maintenance of the 

Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, 

35, Spring Gardens, S.W.